Jerry Brown Announces He is Running For Reelection

Governor Jerry Brown tweeted this photo of him pulling papers for reelection in Alameda County
Governor Jerry Brown tweeted this photo of him pulling papers for reelection in Alameda County

Jerry Brown on Thursday announced he is running for reelection.  Eight days before the filing deadline, Jerry Brown made official what was long believed, by tweeting a photo of himself getting the paperwork to run from the Alameda County Registrar.

He posted a lengthy letter (see below) on his campaign website, arguing that he had kept the campaign promises he made to voters four years ago.

Governor Brown currently faces two challengers in June’s open primary.  Former US Treasury Official Neel Kashkari who announced his candidacy a few weeks ago while addressing business leaders in Sacramento.  Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who has been an outspoken gun rights advocate, has also announced that he is running.

Most experts are predicting a landslide at this point.

Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, told the AP on Thursday, “Brown enters the race as a heavy favorite to win in November, but I wouldn’t say it’s a dead-in-the-bag certainty.”

But, given the weak field, Governor Brown is shown in the polls to be in good shape.  A poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in January found that 53 percent of likely voters would pick Brown, while 17 percent favor Donnelly.

The poll also found that 60 percent of likely voters say they approve of the way Brown is handling his job, up from 49 percent in December. And the governor’s job performance won praise from more than 3 in 4 Democrats and a solid majority of independent voters, who often swing California elections.

The governor has also amassed nearly $17 million in campaign money.  The AP reports that money includes businesses like Chevron that supported Meg Whitman in 2010.  Gone, clearly, are the days of populist Jerry Brown, who in 1992 pledged to reform the system and limited contributions to $100.

Dan Walters, the veteran columnist writes this morning, “Jerry Brown may be poised for historic landslide.”

In recent history, in 1986, he writes, “Republican incumbent George Deukmejian rang up the biggest margin, 60.5 percent, in 1986, defeating Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley a second time.”

Meantime, “Brown, who formally announced Thursday, has clearly found the political sweet spot – liberal on social issues and tight with the public’s buck – and enjoys strong approval ratings. Moreover, he already has $18 million in his re-election campaign fund and the two Republicans to offer themselves, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and financier Neel Kashkari, have very little name identification and even less money.”

Mr. Walters adds, “The public’s political mood has been improving because the state’s economy has been improving, albeit slowly and unevenly.”

It is not that Governor Brown lacks chinks: “His pet bullet train and Delta tunnel projects are stalled and his realignment approach to prison overcrowding could blow up if a felon who otherwise would be behind bars commits some especially heinous crime. But he’s already insulated himself by implying that federal judges made him do it.”

Moreover, his opponents may not be in position to exploit any advantage.

Concludes Mr. Walters, “So how high could Brown’s margin go? An educated guess would be 65 percent and, if events continue to favor him, perhaps over 70 percent. That would certainly put him in the history books.”

Here is the full text of Governor Brown’s Reelection announcement:

Four years ago, I asked that you support my candidacy for governor based on my bringing an “insider’s knowledge but an outsider’s mind” to fix the budget breakdown and overcome Sacramento’s poisonous partisanship. Now, four years later, a $27 billion deficit has become a surplus and our credit rating and public confidence are rising. State budgets are not only balanced but they are on time and free of the rancor of past years.

I said that I would work with both Democrats and Republicans, oil companies and environmentalists, unions and business, and I have.

I pledged that there would be no smoke and mirrors in the budget, and there aren’t.

I promised that there would be no new taxes unless you the people voted for them, and you did.

I also said that we would return decisions and authority to local government and schools, and we have–through Prison Realignment and the Local Control Spending Formula for schools.

The goal was to get California working again–both its government and its overall economy, and that is happening.

For our schools, where once there were thousands of layoffs and widespread elimination of arts and science programs, there is now local control, new hiring and restoration of programs–$10 billion in additional funds this year alone. As for health care, millions of Californians will now either be covered for the first time or enjoy more affordable and better plans.

With Congress failing to reform immigration laws, California acted on its own, passing the Dream Act, making drivers’ licenses available and protecting immigrants from employer retaliation or being deported for minor offenses.

Since the recession, California created a million new jobs, raised the minimum wage, and reformed workers compensation to increase benefits and cut costs.

After more than a fivefold increase in the prison population, California has now embraced a series of major reforms that place responsibility and funding for lower level offenders with local governments. As a result, the prison population is down dramatically and significant funding is going to treatment and rehabilitation.

But, of course, there is much more to do. The many laws that have been passed need oversight and wise administration. Despite the passage of solid pension reform, our pension and retiree health care plans remain underfunded. And California still faces huge liabilities in the form of long deferred maintenance of our roads and public buildings. In short, the current budget surplus, if it is to endure, requires vigilance and a resolute will.

At this stage of my life, I can say–without any hesitation–that I am prepared and excited to tackle these challenges and the many others that lay before us. In fact, there is nothing I would rather do. So today, I have taken out the papers to run for re-election.

If you had asked me 40 years ago–when I first ran for governor–what I would be doing in 2014, I could never have guessed. Nor could anyone else. Yet, by the grace of God and habits of perseverance instilled in me by my family, the Dominican nuns and the Jesuits, I am here and ready to go.

We live in unprecedented times. The tasks ahead are not simple or mundane. The climate itself is changing, threatening catastrophic and irreversible damage to the oceans and natural systems on which human beings and other forms of life depend. In many respects, California is leading the way and we will continue to do so by encouraging many kinds of innovation and by joining with other states and nations. But this is a global problem and only by acting both locally and globally do we have any chance of reducing the unrelenting increase of heat-trapping gasses.

California is now formally committed to obtaining at least one third of its electricity from renewable sources. We are also building the nation’s only high speed rail system and linking it closely with improved local and regional rails systems. Finally, California is strongly encouraging electric and other low emission vehicles, along with better land use to get people and jobs closer together. In all these endeavors, my goal is to decrease the use of fossil fuels while fostering vibrant communities and a sustainable environment.

The current drought is a portent of weather to come. It should awaken us to the actions we need to take this year and in the years to follow. Water is more than a resource. It is a vital and fundamental element of our wellbeing. In the next few years, we need to make solid progress in managing our water both above and below the ground. I pledge my full commitment to bringing all the disparate parties together and working to achieve sensible, scientific and sustainable water policies.

California is known for its brilliant innovation and Nobel Prizes. Yet, millions of our families are struggling and too many men and women cannot find work or the living wages they deserve. My policy is to encourage both new jobs and to protect workers’ rights and environmental values. Balance here is key but what constitutes balance is contested on all sides. I won’t make everyone happy every time but I will listen and I will seek to find the best and fairest way forward.

I’ve lived here my whole life. I love this state and will do my utmost to enable California to keep faith with its past and pave the way for a future as bold as our forebears would expect.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. hpierce

    Nice, free, and probably non-disclosable political ad. Transparent… nice.
    Have voted for Mr Bown 3 times… in his first two runs, and administrations, he was flaky and a jerk… yet, in my opinion, he was better than the alternatives.
    He has matured (don’t think Linda Rondstat is in the picture today, and don’t think he’ll try a presidential run) and he is not a messiah.
    Unless a ‘true’ messiah comes forward, will probably (95% probability) will vote for him, knowing that he can still be a little bit flaky, and somewhat a jerk.

    1. Rich Rifkin

      No doubt, Brown will be reëlected in a landslide. In my opinion, we could do much worse. Brown, occasionally, serves as a reasonable check on the irresponsible unions which run his party (though he has never stood up to the CTA).

      However, the real thing going for Jerry is that we have no effective opposition party. The Republican Party of California has a tarnished brand, that being “Republican.” Beyond the fact that–in the words of Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal–the GOP is now the stupid party. Its brand represents to most Hispanic voters the party which is against them. Blacks have felt that way since the conservative South became overwhelmingly Republican and liberal Republicans in the North and West became Democrats. And socially liberal whites (especially among gays and women) feel ostracized by the evangelical tenor of every GOP primary. Put together, Republicans in California start out at a huge disadvantage in every statewide race, now.

      I don’t know how long we will be a one party state. The Democrats are so thoroughly corrupt, it cannot last forever. I expect at some point the California Republican Party will change its name and try to build a new brand, one which makes Hispanics, blacks and social liberals feel welcome. It won’t work if that is a libertarian party. Our state is not libertarian or rigidly ideological. The new center-right party needs to be moderate, rejecting the extreme corruption of the Democrats, the unions and the others who are dragging California into the dirt. It probably will take another 15-20 years before this comes about.

      1. hpierce

        “Decline to State” is perhaps the fastest growing ‘party’ in California. I joined the ranks, years ago, because I’ve always voted issues, integrity, and ability. But that’s just me.

          1. hpierce

            Let’s see… did Brown instigate the ‘bullet train’? Or was that the legislature and the people who voted for the bonds?

          2. growth issue

            Let’s see, who is pushing the bullet train when a majority now see it for the total waste of money that it is and know how much more it will end up costing than the value of the bonds?

            That would be Moonbeam. A majority of sensible Californians want it shelved.

          3. wdf1

            Brown has been effective enough and appreciated in many ways that he has political capital to spend. Maybe this is how he wants to use it.

          4. growth issue

            Brown will win, I’m not disputing that. I’ve faced the fact that living in CA I will have liberals running the state for the near future. It will all turn back around some day, it always does. But that being said, the bullet train is a total boondoggle as is the water pipeline to the south and Moonbeam is onboard 100% for both. So there’s 2 issues Don right off the top, do you want me to post others?

          5. Don Shor

            I support a Delta restoration process; that might involve a pipeline, or it might not. But I do support the ongoing consensus process that has been underway for two decades involving the Delta. Brown supports that too. The bullet train was supported by the voters. I voted against it. It if came up on the ballot again, I’d vote against it again, and maybe now a majority of California voters would as well. But overall, this is probably the best governor this state has had in quite a while. He’s achieved a lot and kept his promises. I’m wondering if there is even a Republican with statewide name recognition who’s willing to run in the face of certain defeat.

          6. David Greenwald

            A narrow majority of those polled versus a large majority of those who voted for it. At this point, I don’t know that the Governor could pull it without setting a bad precedent of the Governor being able to override the voters in an initiative. The best course of action would be to put a proposition on the ballot to rescind it.

  2. Frankly

    Don Shor: So what? It’s the only issue you can bring up?

    Brown has been a disaster for the economy of California.

    The real California unemployment rate is 17.31%

    He killed RDAs to give his teacher union buddies more money.

    He failed to rein in state worker pensions.

    He embraced the affordable care act and as a result is causing many Californians to lose their coverage and their doctors.

    He raised taxes… giving CA the distinction of having the highest tax rates in the country.

    He will likely sign to increase the state minimum wage to $10/hr or higher.

    Small businesses are still closing their doors in large numbers after trying to hang on since the beginning of the recession.

    Brown will win in a landslide.

    I agree. And I supposed that makes a liberal-leaning fellow like you feel very good and validated.

    1. Don Shor

      You can make up any ‘real unemployment’ numbers that you like. I strongly agreed then, and still agree, with dissolution of the RDA’s. They were a flat-out boondoggle in most cases. Davis might have been an exception, though I really don’t agree. He has taken first steps on pensions and budget issues. I strongly agree with him about the affordable care act. Your statement about loss of coverage is nonsense, and in my instance the ACA is the first time in decades that I have had affordable health coverage. I agreed with his tax increases; they were a budget necessity much like what we face in Davis. I can live with a $10 minimum wage; I would strongly prefer not to see it go to $15.

      It would be great if we had a viable Republican party in California to provide a reasonable alternative. Too bad most of them are far far far to the right.

      I’m happy with Jerry Brown. He compares very well to Schwarzenegger and Davis: he is pragmatic, effective, and seems very non-ideological.

      I don’t feel any need to be “validated.” That’s just more of your usual pseudo-psycho-babble. The stuff you just can’t resist doing.

        1. Don Shor

          We’ve been through this before. RDA’s siphoned off property tax revenue and dedicated it to various development projects. Some were beneficial, others were wasteful. Some were incredibly wasteful. The only thing that made them work out on the balance sheet was that the state backfilled the property tax monies that were going to go to the school districts. I think the financing situation now is much more straightforward, and municipal governments no longer have the RDA slush funds they were using for sometimes-dubious projects. I do remember your detailed analysis of where the money went. What’s missing from your ‘good for the cities and bad for the teachers’ unions’ reduction is what was happening to the money overall.

          1. Frankly

            Look how less capable we are of executing any meaningful infill development in a post RDA state. You should love RDAs for helping to increase density and keep those land developers away from the high quality farm land you seem to love more than the water needed to farm it.

            I love the logic…

            Land not producing enough tax revenue.

            RDAs help increase the tax revenue with a share going to schools.

            Schools claim that RDAs are “stealing” by continuing to use their share.

            So Brown kills RDAs so the schools get it all.

            Talk about stealing!

            But the biggest theft was a useful economic development tool.

          2. Don Shor

            RDA’s did nothing to facilitate high-density development.

            RDAs help increase the tax revenue with a share going to schools.

            Not true. And the only reason RDA’s didn’t directly take money from the schools was because the state backfilled what the schools would have received.
            It’s not a “claim” that RDA’s were ‘stealing’ money. Property taxes, which fund the schools, were being siphoned off to pay for things like pedestrian bulb-outs in the downtown.
            No, the schools don’t ‘get it all’. I’ve never claimed that. Killing the RDA’s simply redirected some of that property tax back to the schools (and other districts) directly.
            RDA’s were largely a scam. I’m always surprised when a thinking conservative supported them.

            You should love RDAs for helping to increase density and keep those land developers away from the high quality farm land you seem to love more than the water needed to farm it.

            That sentence literally makes no sense.

          3. Frankly

            Don, I think you need to read up on RDAs and the impact of their demise. You seem to be either ignorant of some of the details or in denial.

            Here is a good piece.


            Getting back to the original point of this article. Why Brown has been terrible for the economy. The killing of RDAs was a blow to the economy in favor of funneling more of the tax revenue generated by RDAs to the schools. It was theft.

          4. Don Shor

            Yes, an excellent article which exactly proves the point I was making.

            Over the years, cities stretched the definition of “blight,” RDA funds subsidized for-profit developers, and redevelopment sped gentrification and caused displacement in historic low-income communities and communities of color.
            A 2011 audit by the State Controller’s Office found that some cities took a broad definition of blight. “Coronado’s redevelopment area covers every privately owned parcel in the city, including multimillion dollar beachfront homes,” Controller John Chiang reported. “In Palm Desert, redevelopment dollars are being used to renovate greens and bunkers at a 4.5 star golf resort.”[2]
            Large swaths of many cities—including 40 percent of Oakland’s land area—were declared “blighted” and in some cases completely transformed, sometimes at the expense of residents and sometimes to their benefit.

            Your use of the term “theft” is ridiculous. The previous system was a shellgame. If anything was ‘theft’ it was the misuse and abuse and pure fraud associated with skimming property tax revenues off and using them for development.

          5. Don Shor

            in favor of funneling more of the tax revenue generated by RDAs to the schools.

            Let’s see. More money for the schools? Or more money for downtown prettification projects? Hm. In lean fiscal times, I think I’ll go for the first choice.

          6. Frankly

            A 2011 audit by the State Controller’s Office found that some cities took a broad definition of blight.

            So, “some” did.

            You can point out “some” in almost anything.

            And this was the justification for the destruction of ALL RDA, and the theft of tax revenue derived from redevelopment.

            And now the same that demanded this theft are crying about a lack of affordable housing.

            So Brown gets that distinction too… killing RDAs and killing the affordable housing development that RDA provided.

          7. Don Shor

            As you know, I have a very different view about affordable housing than the “some” that you are referring to.

            Most of the tax revenue from “redevelopment” didn’t come from the projects themselves. It came from the property value increases that occurred statewide. Cities were just skimming off the top of the property bubble and using that for pet projects.
            If a project has merit, a city council can propose it and vote on it in open session, with the project (let’s say, maybe, a parking garage) competing for taxpayer dollars with the many other needs and uses for those dollars. Putting that special money into different accounts (most “RDA” boards were just the city councils) just made it unavailable for other uses. I doubt that most taxpayers would have set the priorities in the manner the RDA structure demanded. We actually were getting to the point where city maintenance staff would be laid off, parks and pools could face closure, while cities build things and decorate their downtowns. You can’t tell me the voters of Davis would be ok with pools closing and summer programs being cut while money is being spent on downtown projects.

            It’s way more than just ‘some’, Frankly. We’re talking about millions and millions of dollars. Just look at Stockton.

      1. Frankly

        It wasn’t any attempt at pseudo-psycho-babble (which, by the way I think is a term that pretty much cancels itself out)… I just wonder why you and others with your political bent don’t care as much about the people without jobs as you do the highly public employees – many whom are grossly over-compensated.

      1. Frankly

        No, it is not improving in relative terms. When you fall from a cliff, making your way 25% back up may look like an improvement, but then not so much when so many are back at the top.

        The run up of the stock market is inflating the California growth numbers. It is another bubble. The bones of the California economy are more brittle than ever. And much of that is the result of Brown’s decisions to favor the standard Democrat tools over the real health of the economy.

        California last again in CEO business climate ranking

        California is second to last for its business tax climate:

        There were 1.3 million businesses in California at the end of 2012, 5.2 percent fewer than in the previous year (that’s about 73,000 fewer). To put that in perspective, Massachusetts lost 5,200 businesses, the second-highest amount, and Kansas had 3.1 percent fewer businesses in 2012 than in 2011, the second-highest loss rate. Nebraska added businesses at 11.9 percent, the fastest rate. Because BLS releases the data on a lag, the end of 2012 is the latest date for which numbers are available.

        By contrast: Florida, another state hard hit by the bursting of the real estate bubble, and the state with the second most businesses, added new businesses at the nation’s seventh-fastest rate.

        California still leads the nation in percentage of college-educated adults, calling that statistic “a reflection of our advantage in skills.” But Nickelsburg disclosed census data that shows the state’s advantage has disappeared among workers age 25 to 34.

        In that age category, the percentage of Californians with college degrees equals the national average, and the percentage of Californians with some college trails the national average.

        He predicted that development “could erode” California’s competitive advantage and lead to one of two results: Workers without college training will “leave California for Texas or some place where jobs are low-skilled and immigrants come in to take the skilled jobs, or we lose our educational advantage.

        “The trend in education makes California’s growth engine vulnerable,” he said.

        Nickelsburg said there is some indication that the first scenario is beginning to take place.

        “The evidence is that in-migration to California is more highly educated than the out-migration. It’s not a big phenomenon right now, but it exists,” he said.

        Nickelsburg was among several economists and business representatives to testify at an informational hearing of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy. The focus was on trends and challenges in the state economy.

        In 2011, 172 companies have moved out or are moving out of California, Business Relocation Coach Joe Vranich said.

        Vranich, who tracks the movement of companies, said the number of companies moving out of the state is five times higher than the rate of companies that moved out of California in 2009.

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